World of Warcraft Goes Free-to-Play Until Level 20

Free-to-play is the big new development in MMO’s, enabling studios to hook players without the impediment of expensive monthly fees. Sensing their competition stirring, Blizzard today announced new “Starter Edition” accounts, which enable players to level a character up to 20 and get a taste for what the game has to offer.

Now it’s official: WoW really is like drugs — the first one’s always free. Coming on the heels of Cataclsym (which wasn’t quite as big a smash as the Irvine, CA mega-developers had hoped), the change might also be an attempt to stave off competition from The Old Republic, which looks ready to launch around the holiday season. Also, as pointed out by blogger and video game business egghead Bill Harris at Dubious Quality, the game market is very different than it was in 2004, when World of Warcraft launched. Mobile and tablet gaming take up more of gamers’ time, and Facebook is a effective delivery device for persistent, addictive, repetitive content. Only time will tell if this gambit by Blizzard will pay off. In the meantime, check out the exact terms of the Starter Edition below.

- A level cap of 20.
- A maximum of 10 gold.
- Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
- Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
- In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
- Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
- Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters’ friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
- Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
- Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
- Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
- Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
- Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
- RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.

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4 Comments on World of Warcraft Goes Free-to-Play Until Level 20


On June 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

Huh… a gimped wow opposed to other free to play mmorpgs with no limitations. That’s crap.

Oompa Loompa

On June 29, 2011 at 7:46 am

They had this already… It was called a trial account…

This is basically the same thing except it doesn’t end after 10 days anymore.


On July 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

At least is free playable for more than 10 days (crying)

Joseph Ramos

On July 4, 2011 at 4:44 am

The free-to-play model is more like a trial because trial has also got these requirements which kinda sicks.